Devon Allman Band | Ride or Die (Ruf)

Allman is a self-made visionary and musical legend with a firm control on his own genre: electric vintage R&B, with a touch of Southern rock and soul blues.


Devon Allman absolutely smashes the barriers with his latest album, Ride or Die, his best work yet. He is paving the road to becoming his own self-made visionary and musical legend with a firm control on his own genre: electric vintage R&B, with a touch of Southern rock and soul blues. Ride or Die is smooth, sexy blues soul in all its essence. Every song on this album, whether slow or fast, has a life of its own, and every lyric provides “useful information”…in a wise, peace, love, rock sort of way. The sultry, sexy saxophone and creative production of unique and skillfully placed variations of instruments in this collection all contribute to a new appreciation of rock ’n’ soul blues. Each word meshes with the music’s upbeat tempo, using a unique blending of instrumentation and taking the entire genre to another level. The lyrical genius of Allman stands alone and brings his craft to a masterful level of enlightenment. Every song has a story, life in motion, characterizing situations that we all as human beings have been through.

Allman is a realist, a soul bonded to the earth with profound wisdom beyond his years. He travels all over the world, playing thousands of concerts in more countries, states, and cities than most people only think about visiting. The band’s aggressive and never-ceasing gigs lend a magnitude of experience that adds exponentially to his perspicacity of the entire entertainment experience.

Ride or Die rocks right into each song, reveling in truths about human nature and real-life situations. All the while, Allman confronts the struggles of life and at the same time embraces enlightened wisdom that he belts out in every song. You can hear the sincerity in his heartfelt words, which mesmerize and captivate you at the same time. The strong inspiration within the meaning of his songs combines with throaty, raw vocal oozing with freewheeling, suave brass, keyboards, and strings. The sultry saxophone, craftily intertwined, adds to the emphasis on the lessons and uplifting optimistic advice he delivers: messages of hope in the realistic view of life’s situations. Lyrics like “listen to your soul” and “live from your heart” are just some of the truths he speaks, making you think about the decisions of your life.

Allman demonstrates musical and lyrical mastery on this album. He owns the music as a master of his craft with a display of strong hooks and meaningful words. I found every song better than the last, the anticipation of what was coming as much invigorating as it was satiating.

Here’s a song-by-song breakdown:

“Say Your Prayers” | A flashy, funky, and heady beat catches on immediately. It’s about riding out the storm and surviving, knowing the sun will shine again.

“Find Ourselves” | Crisp, sultry saxophone leads off the song, words to live by bridged with a guitar riff—with a beautiful message: “If you see a chance of loving don’t throw it away,” “Let go of the past,” and “Stop feeling guilty.” The chorus line hugs the beat so tight, you can hardly stop swaying in your seat.

“Galaxies Collide” | The song kicks off with strong electric guitars and lyrics asking the hard questions. It’s about the decisions of your life: When galaxies collide, will you ride or die? A rocking and soulful song told with the guidance of the music.

“Lost” | Deep earthy vocals dripping with blues and wah wah–infused guitar licks, making the guitar tell the story of what is wrong and what is right. Allman sings of the pain and suffering of being lost, raw and earnest, owning the words to portray his message.

“Shattered Times” | Funky blues beats bringing the blues back home. Even the snappy beat doesn’t take away from the deep, yet painful message of a broken heart, in line with blues storytelling at its best. Rooted from the soul.

“Watch What You Say” | The song has a classic rock start, embellished by electric guitar and karma infused into the soulful message: “In the end, we all are one”; “bad times fade away”; “real things come back around”; “choose your words with love and grace.”

“Vancouver Sunshine” | This is a love song for the ages. Reminiscent of lost love, these lyrics are silky and sad, the seductive sax ascending into the lyrical story of good love gone bad.

“Pleasure and Pain” | This song reveals how bad habits can seize you in their grips, and how a moment of pleasure can destroy your happiness in the long run. Funky guitar signifies the strength of getting it back together after struggles of self-medication.

“Hold Me” | This is a genuine feel-good song—with funk, blues, and swagger. “Hold Me” is a great couples song, combined with an upbeat message of what we all want in our love life.

“Live from the Heart” | Inspirational, reflective lyricism shines through to our souls with a message everyone can relate to: “Dig through the beauty between the drops of rain.” We all can find shelter and wisdom someplace in these words.

“Butterfly Girl” | A touching song of a butterfly, he has useful information on not to try to trap her, or she’ll fly away. Wisdom for the ages. We all know a girl like this! Perfect execution of the message to hold on loosely, to not try to control, and to take care of the gentleness and fragility of all the butterfly souls out there.

“A Night Like This” | A fantastic blending of the guitar, drums and bass. What not to do in the heat of an argument: don’t leave without saying goodbye; don’t act on rash emotions. Deeper still are the visuals portrayed in the song which take you there with him: You can feel like he feels while he’s singing this song.

“Sanguine” | The lyrics are well mixed with a variety of instruments crafted in an airtight production.

This entire collection of songs has a combination of life’s ups and downs, as well as how to set things straight and get over the challenges we all face in this life. This album is real, honest, and powerful in all aspects and shows us a little glimpse of the very essence of Allman’s soul. An album to be deeply appreciated by the listener, blending words and music for the millennium. | Marsha Buehler

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